Tag: vitamins

get quality sleep

What to avoid and embrace to get quality sleep – part two

Last month, we established some strategies for comfort, part one of our sleep series. How else can we create good quality sleep?

Much of sleep quality comes down to do’s and don’ts – basically, what you should avoid and what you should embrace. And while many are small and seemingly insignificant, my recommendations can individually and cumulatively have a large impact on how well you sleep.

 

What you should avoid

For starters, think about what you are eating and drinking before bedtime. No large meals or foods that cause indigestion too close to bedtime. Research suggests avoiding caffeine, alcohol or other sleep interfering chemicals at least four hours before bedtime. Chemicals to avoid include:

  • Antihistamines – can cause daytime drowsiness
  • Nicotine – can cause insomnia and result in light sleeping
  • Beta blockers – often cause decreases in the amount of REM and slow-wave sleep*
  • Alpha blockers – may increase daytime sleepiness*
  • Antidepressants – can promote insomnia

*Speak with your prescribing physician about how the timing of these medications may impact your sleep.

Long and late afternoon napping can also impact your sleep quality. Studies show that a 10 to 30 minute power nap during the day can have positive affects but anything longer than that can interfere with your sleep cycle. If you must nap to get through your day due to health problems, take your nap early in the day.

As hard as it may be in this day and age of smart phones, avoid using electronics at least 30 minutes before bed. Electronics reduce melatonin and keep the brain alert. This also includes readers, tablets and even television.

Believe it or not your water intake can impact your sleep quality. Don’t be so busy during the day that you fail to drink enough water causing you to “catch up” with water at night. This may create the urge to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night. Balance out your water intake throughout the day instead.

Finally, avoid being a “clock watcher” if you are struggling to fall asleep. This will just cause stress and anxiety. Instead, try to find a comfortable position and focus on how lovely it is to rest your body and mind through relaxation, even if it isn’t sleep. That in itself will help you to stop stressing enough to relax and fall asleep.

 

What you should embrace

Especially if you are someone who regularly struggles with falling asleep or waking up in the middle of the night, you’ll want to consider embracing some behaviors and rituals to promote better sleep.

Remember last month how I talked about having the right bed and mattress? That’s’ a part of creating a soothing and relaxing sleep environment. Go out of your way to create such an environment. Start by allowing your room to be dark, quiet and cool. I think investing in bedding that is super-comfortable is well worth the extra expense.

get quality sleepI also believe that a pre-sleep routine is very helpful. My personal favorite includes taking a nice warm Epsom salt bath with essential oils. Other ideas include reading before bed, doing relaxation exercises or rubbing on some essential oils. You can read more about essential oils for sleep. One company that makes a quality essential oil product is doTERRA (I actually have a doTERRA account, so you can purchase yours from us if you like).

Establishing a consistent sleep schedule is also a huge benefit. People often make the mistake of staying up past the time they are naturally tired. In these cases, people often get a second wind due to adrenal imbalances and then they cannot shut off their mind when they have stayed up too late and truly need to go to bed. Some people enjoy a guided meditation for sleep or even biofeedback devices to relax in preparation for sleep.

 

What to do if you still struggle

If you try everything I’ve already mentioned and still struggle, there are some safe, natural products you can use for sleep – and we sell many of them in our office.

Lunora This product contains melatonin, a natural hormone that helps usher the onset of the body’s natural circadian sleep cycle and valerian root, a plant based herb known to assist in sleep.

Vasayo Microlife Sleep Micromyst This is a product that has a unique delivery system for its ingredients. It is a spray that is used in the mouth. Vasayo uses liposome technology which are like spheres or bubbles that surround nutrients. This helps the ingredients get through the digestive system intact for better absorption and use by the body. The key ingredient is

Melatonin, a natural hormone that helps usher the onset of the body’s natural circadian sleep cycle.

How do you choose between natural sleep products? We often start with Lunora as it is a very simple product with just two ingredients and is priced very affordably. That usually does the trick. However, if that doesn’t work, we stop the Lunora and move on to the Vasayo product which is a bit more expensive.

Some other options include:

GABA This supplement is a neurotransmitter that inhibits nerve activity in the brain, allowing it to slowly relax and support the normal sleep cycle.

NAC This supplement is an amino acid that decreases other compounds that stimulate the brain.

Vitamins B2 and B6 Finally, these vitamins help support normal neurotransmitter and hormone function.

I’m hopeful that with some of these recommendations you start to get the quality sleep that you deserve!

Dr. Sharman

 

 

 

make injuries heal faster

What you can do to make injuries heal faster

You have an injury or flare-up. Your doctor prescribes a regimen of treatment to get you back to where you were before. The first thing you likely ask is “how long will this take”?

It’s very natural to ask this question. When patients come in to me suffering from pain, they are frustrated by how much it interferes with their life.

The pain makes their work day difficult, interferes with the housework, makes it difficult for them to lift their children or grandchildren, restricts them from their favorite sport, messes up their travel plans or interferes with their personal life.

More than anything, patients just want to get back to their normal life as fast as they can. So, if this is you, what can you do to make injuries heal faster and impact your recovery? Plenty.

 

Getting enough care and being compliant with your treatment plan

For starters, a treatment plan needs the frequency of care and compliance. You can impact both of these.

As a patient, it usually is going to take about 12 visits to make a significant change in your pain level and mobility. You may find that you are feeling much better in about six visits, but to get to normal activities, it usually takes at least 12 visits. Typically, the more often you come, the faster you will get well. In a perfect world, if you are in severe pain, you would come in three times a week. But I realize that is not always realistic due to schedules or finances. If you can come twice a week, you can still make pretty good progress. Less than that and progress is going to be slow – too slow for most people.

You can also impact how well you comply with treatment. Sticking with the full course of care really matters. It is like taking an antibiotic – you don’t want to take antibiotics unnecessarily, but when you are in crisis and have to take them, you have to finish the whole course of medication. You cannot take a 10-day antibiotic for two or three days and expect the infection to go away. It is the same with the treatment. You may feel a little better after one or two treatments, but you are not stabilized to a point where the pain will stay away for good.

 

Approaching the problem from multiple angles

You can often speed up your recovery by implementing more than one approach. That’s one of the reasons we offer so many different services to tackle recovery.  If you have a herniated disk and you sit at a desk all day, I’ll recommend stretching and strengthing your postural muscles, especially strengthening the core. If we only use chiropractic manipulation, you will improve, but you would improve much faster if we add in therapeutic exercise. I may even suggest massage therapy, electric stimulation or ultrasound to reduce muscle spasms and inflammation. A multi-faceted rather than single-faceted approach generally results in faster recovery.

 

make injuries heal fasterUsing nutrition and supplements

At our office, we carry a variety of vitamin and supplementation products to reduce pain and inflammation, helping to speed up healing. One of my favorites for acute injury is Zymain. Zymain includes enzymes that help your body break down the compounds in inflammation that stimulate your pain fibers.  Zymain helps to metabolize and “process out” the pain stimulating compounds. As well, I can educate you on the types of foods that increase or decrease inflammation so you can make better choices.

 

Home care

What you do at home matters when it comes to making injuries heal faster.

For acute pain, ice can be your best friend. Unfortunately, many patients don’t really understand how to use ice properly. Do not wrap ice up in kitchen towels where the cold doesn’t penetrate deep enough to therapeutically affect the tissue. Instead, use ice or an ice pack with nothing but a thin t-shirt or a few paper towels between the ice and skin. Ice the injured area for 15 to 20 minutes, first feeling cold, then burning, then numb. Ice for 15 to 20 minutes on, 15 to 20 minutes off, alternating for 60 to 90 minutes. This allows the blood vessels to alternately constrict and dilate, pumping out inflammation. Heat can relax muscles but increase inflammation – so ask before you use it at home.

Other important areas of home care include doing home exercises, changing techniques for activities of daily living and getting proper support for sleeping, driving and sitting at a computer station. I can make recommendations for all of these as a part of your treatment plan.

The good news is that the body is more resilient than you could ever imagine. By sticking to the frequency of care, completing the full course of care, approaching the problem with all available treatments, utilizing nutritional and supplement approaches and paying attention to home care, we can maximize the body’s healing potential. And if you do this, you can get back to doing all the things in life you love – what everyone ultimately wants!

 

Dr. Sharman

 

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